Jul 20, 2012 01:22 PM EDT
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'Dark Knight Rises' Colorado Shooting: Killer Identified, Rihanna & President Obama Send Out Condolences

By Charlene Cooper
James Holmes is seen in this undated handout picture released by The University of Colorado.
(Photo : Reuters) James Holmes is seen in this undated handout picture released by The University of Colorado.

A gunman opened fire at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" early Friday in Aurora, Denver. The suspect has been identified as 24-year-old James Holmes.

At least twelve victims have been reported dead while 38 others were injured after Holmes attacked movie-goers. The shooter entered through the emergency exit of the Century 16 Movie Theaters, set off a smoke bomb and proceeded to go on a shooting spree.

Reports say that the gunman wore a bulletproof vest during the rampage and carried a rifle, handgun, and knife with him. Witnesses also say that the shooter had on a gas mask.

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The gunman was said to have a very serene look on his face as he walked between theater aisles firing at screaming movie-goers.

"I told my girlfriend to just play dead," Chandler Brannon, 25, told Reuters news service, adding that he never got a full view of the gunman. "All I could see was a silhouette."

Ten people were killed at the movie theater and the others died after being rushed to hospitals within the area, according to local police.

A San Diego woman who identified herself as Holmes' mother spoke with ABC news and said that she had no knowledge of the incident and hadn't been contacted by the police.

"You have the right person," she reportedly said, concerned about her son's alleged involvement. "I need to call the police, she added. "I need to fly out to Colorado."

The woman and her husband later released a statement saying their "hearts go out to those involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."

Holmes was taken into custody in a parking lot behind the theater following the attack. Upon being arrested, Holmes warned police that his apartment was booby-trapped, resulting in a police evacuation of the residence.

Police have been working all morning to enter the apartment, which has been described as "elaborately" fixed with explosives.

"The pictures we have from inside the apartment are pretty disturbing considering how elaborate the apartment is booby trapped," police said outside of the apartment complex today. The "flammable and explosive" materials could have blown up Holmes' apartment building and the ones near it, police said.

Holmes was said to be a graduate student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver's Aschutz Medical Campus, but had plans of withdrawing from the program.

The shooting continues to shock the nation. Celebrities have even tweeted their condolences for the victims.

Rihanna tweeted, after another twitter user informed her of the news, "that's incredibly heartbreaking! Wow! My prayers are certainly going out to them and their loved ones."

Basketball star LeBron James also struggled to take in the news writing, "It's just not fair that innocent people have to lose their lives over someone's selfish stupidity acts! My stomach is hurting over this."

In a statement, President Obama said, "Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded."

 

 

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